I am woken up by a gentle knock accompanied by a calling of my name. As I open the door. I find Mrs Mali standing there; panicking. “I have been knocking since forever, I have been worried sick about you.... are you ok?” says Mrs Mali and hugs me. “I fell asleep ma’am,” I said... I look at the window I realise that it is dark. “Come, I need a word with you but get something to eat first,” she says and goes downstairs. I follow. She gives me a plate and tells me to come to the lounge when I am done! Then I think back to where I come from, I remember what was always happening in our lounge: I was always attacked and I never had the power to fight back. This thought kills my appetite. I take the food back to the fridge and go to the lounge. I find my principal and his gorgeous wife waiting for me. Mrs Mali tells me that she bought me some clothes and that I have to try them on. I thank her and she smiles.
Mr Mali says: “This is awkward but it has to be done. My wife and I have been married for 22 years and we have been trying to conceive a baby since then, but we couldn’t. We went to many doctors but they all said the same thing: we are both infertile. You see Aviwe you are like my child. Three years back when I heard about your problem my heart bled. I imagined, felt and took your pain like you really are my own daughter. Since then all I ever wanted to do was to help. Even today I still want to help you. When my wife told me the good news I felt blessed to have known you. The God we pray to do wonders all the time. God always has a plan for everything, it was not a mistake that, when your news came to my ears, I believed you and I didn’t leave it just there. All this time I thought my wife and I are your guardian angels but no; it’s the other way around. You are our angel and you were sent in our lives to help us. In all, I want to let you know how honoured we will be to adopt you as our own child. Your child is like our own grandchild she or he will never need anything,” he concludes.
I am very calm. This sounds like emotional blackmailing to me. I will not be manipulated, not now, not ever. Just because they helped me doesn’t mean I have to go against my gut feeling. I look at them and then I look down. “I know you are scared Aviwe, but let’s work together to correct the mistakes done by your parents, keep the child and let us show the world that a child is a gift from God. It doesn’t matter how you conceived the child but they are innocent and you just have to do right by them. Every child deserves chance to live. Keep your child. We will love her/him with everything in us. I will love her the way you should have been loved. Give us a chance to show you that being a child of rape is not a choice and all kids have to be treated with love. Aborting would be wrong. I know you are young and confused, but I won’t let you to make a mistake,” says Mrs Mali with a pleading face.
Well she is good and she has her way with words. She was once a lawyer so she is a professional manipulator. I won’t be intimidated. I know what I want and I already have made up my mind. Keeping this would be a mistake of a lifetime. “Do I have a choice?” I ask. “Yes baby you do, this is a dearly request, not a command, but I trust you will make a smart choice,” says Mrs Mali.
“Smart move according to who? I am sorry but I have already made up my mind and nothing you can say or do will change my mind. I feel your pain but if you want a kid you can always go to orphanage homes and adopt as many children as you want. Thank you for your kindness and being there for me when no one was there but I won’t let you manipulate me. By nature I don’t respond very well to emotional blackmailing,” I say. I then stand up and go upstairs, take off the night gown and put on a blue skinny jean, white plain t-shirt, white takkies and a black sweater that Mrs Mali bought me and they suit me just fine.
How sweet that she estimates my size and get it right just like that. I look at my reflection in the mirror. The door opens. “Can I come in?” I look at the door and see MiLady smiling. “Yhea sure, I am leaving anyway,” I reply.
“Where are you going? It is 21:05pm?” she asks.
“I don’t know, but I know I can’t be here, you obviously want something from me and you won’t have it, therefore there is no need for me to stay here,” I say looking straight into her eyes. “What are you talking about? Viwe, you misunderstood, we are not forcing you to keep the baby. We are asking you to give us what we spent the last 22 years hoping for. Oh, my God you don’t get it do you? But it’s fine. Just know that I helped you not because I wanted something from you, but because it was the right thing to do. I don’t want you to leave. It’s ok if you want to abort the child, I will support you all the way. It’s your life after all,” she says. “Good,” I reply and give her a cold hug.
Yes, I might appear as selfish and inconsiderate but that suits me just fine, I don’t care! I am grateful for what they did for me but I am 17 and its time I think about my own future. Imagine if I carry this THING, let Milady adopt IT and then, when it grows up, it demands to know its real parents. Then it is told that her mother gave it up because she didn’t want it. Its mother was raped and she stabbed its father. How would that child feel? How would you feel when you are told such news? Wouldn’t you hate your mother for giving you up and for stabbing the man who created you? Wouldn’t you hate yourself for causing your mother so much pain and sorrow? Wouldn’t you wish your mother would have aborted you? I would! See? I am doing this to protect not only me but also my unborn baby.
Milady locks me inside the bedroom! “I am not going to leave!” I say. “Like I trust you!” She shouts. Then she leaves with the key. This woman is something else. I take off my clothes and get under the blankets! I think of how I met Mrs and Mr Mali. When I met them they did not know that I am pregnant; all they wanted was to help me. They are selfless and harmless people. I over-reacted. Where would I go from here? Nowhere! My parents know that I am with them but they did not make any contact; they did not try to find me! I guess this is my home now!
I am so confused about keeping the baby or not. It is not only Azola’s baby, but mine too. It has my blood. I won’t be killing only his baby - I will be killing our baby. Well, I still have to sleep on it. I am woken up by the light from a window. I open my left eye and find MiLady smiling next to my bed. “Wake up, its 10:00 and there is a lot to discuss about the case you have to open against Azola,” she replies. “I thought you sorted everything out?” I say.
“Please call me mommy,” she says.
I laugh and say: “How about I call you grandmother?”
“Is your grandmother my age? You are crazy! Ok by the way I wrote everything down all you have to do is to read and sign and then I will give it to the head of police. I have already talked to him. Azola is under police watch now. Once he recovers I will be the one taking your case! I will make sure that he rots in jail one way or the other. But without being personal about it the state is very harsh on rape cases. He will get what he deserves”, she says, holding my hand. “That sounds promising, thank you. Finally I will have peaceful dreams.”
She then gives me a warmest hug and tells me that I will be alone because they are going to church. I ask her to please get police to get my books from where I used to stay as I am starting with my trail exams in 4 days.
“Your wish is my command, madam,” she says and we both laugh! This lady is amazing. She has a good heart. It’s like yesterday never happened.
“I have decided to keep the baby,” I say. The shock in her face. “What? Are you sure? What changed your mind?” she asks, coming back to my bed.
“This is not only Azola’s baby, this is also my baby! You said everyone deserves a chance to live! Giving a life to somebody is supposed to be the most beautiful thing.” I say. “Oh, my God. King of kings, you are Holly, You supposed to be prayed,” she falls down on her knees and prays! I am so happy that I have made someone else happy. I feel warm tears dropping from my eyes.
Mr Mali must have heard the noise from my room so he comes up stairs with a confused face. He finds me crying and his wife praying and crying. Then she gets up and hugs him tightly! She whispers in his ear! I then see tears dropping from his eyes. They cry together. My child will have the most amazing parents in the entire world. The way they love each other! They were supposed to be gifted with as many kids as they want but then one can never have everything in life. They thank me, saying that I have no idea of what this means to them. They are so jubilant I don’t even get the chance to tell them that I won’t give up my baby for adoption. They will be godparents.
I get my academic life back on track and with renewed vigour; I pour my heart out into my studies. Time goes by so fast, it’s crazy. Before l even realise it, l am writing my final exams. I enjoy every moment of staying with Mr and Mrs Mali. They are so protective of my unborn baby. They watch every little thing I eat. We all wake up and jog before going to school. I see the most expensive doctor in East London. My new parents want what’s best for me and the baby. I have never been so taken care of.
Later, Mrs Mali tells me Azola recovered and she took care of everything: he is going to spend the rest of his life in prison.
When I tell the Mali’s I am not going to give up my baby for adoption and that they will be godparents, they are still happy. They say as long as they are present during the birth of the child, they will give him a name and they will raise him. All they want is to be there when the child crawls, when he starts talking etc. They want to be there all the way and they want someone to call them mommy and daddy from an early stage.
I would never be able to repay what they did for me. They have taken me in when I had nothing and they had absolutely nothing to gain. I get almost everything I want when I want it. I have seen my ’parents” and Buhle once or twice but we are like strangers.
By January my tummy is showing and MiLady buys me the most expensive maternity dresses. She says a mother must always look good. We have been told that the baby is a boy! By this time he already has his own room, suitcase full of baby clothes and lots of toys. I am so happy that my child will have what I didn’t have. He will get unconditional love and support system. He will never need anything. I will never let anything happen to him.
I have been accepted at so many universities but my final results are not yet out.
One evening, I go to Mrs Mali’s study to look for a book to read. I find a thick law text book. I take it to my bed room. I read 100 pages and fall in love with law. I decide that I want to be a Lawyer. I want to stand for the truth. I want justice to be served. I want to stand for people who can’t stand for themselves.
The time is 21:00 and I know for a fact that Mr Mali had the school matric results! But his phone is off, So my baby boy is kicking and I then remember that I have not eaten anything in about 5 hours. As I go downstairs to get something to eat, I feel something weird and painful on my bladder. I don’t understand; I am only 8 months I am only due on the following month. I start to have contractions and it feels as if all the cells in my body are screaming in pain. The pain comes in bounds and then it gets more and more excruciating. Instinctively my breathing rate increases, as if to catch the air and by this time l am panting like an armature marathon runner close to the finishing line. At the same time I have got a pressing urge to go to the toilet but I can’t walk or move! I left my phone in my room and the landline phone is in the kitchen. Feeling, l lower myself on the stairs. After a few minutes I feel stronger and I slowly make my way downstairs, using the wall to balance. After what felt like forever I get to the telephone and call an ambulance and MiLady! My water breaks while I am on the phone with her. My body just can’t take this anymore, I scream aloud and faint.
When I wake up in hospital, I hear voices coming from far away. I try to open my eyes but they are heavy! Someone tells me to relax. I fall asleep again!